Anger. It’s an emotion all of us have experienced at one point in time or another. And more often than not, the repercussions are not pleasant. Especially if we really spazz out. When you’re seeing red, the emotion has the chance to make you do really dangerous stuff. Stuff that you’ll end up regretting afterwards.
In the scriptures, there are plenty expressions of anger. After all, it is about human beings. But if there’s any lesson we could ever truly learn concerning how this emotion ought to be handled, it can be found in the way Jesus let His anger show forth when He discovered His Father’s house had become a business center.
As we read in John 2:13-16, upon finding the activity in the temple, He made a whip and went on the rampage. He sacked the sheep and oxen and their owners from the temple and knocked over the money changer’s tables. But when it came to those selling the doves, He told them to take them out of the temple.
Notice the prudence shown by our Saviour in this fiery display of zeal.
He was furious, all right. But His anger didn’t have a hold of Him to the extent that He totally spazzed out and did something over-the-top. And it’s simple, really. In driving out the sheep and oxen, they could be gathered by their owners outside. And in scattering the money tables, it would obviously be easy for them to gather the money and leave. But imagine if in a fit of rage, Jesus smashed some cages of these birds? They would fly away, and the owners would lose out on what they needed to sell to survive. After all, Jesus was not mad at them for selling sheep or pigeons; He knew that was their job. He just despised the fact that all this was happening in what was meant to be the house of prayer.
He did not let His anger extend to them as people, it was simply directed at their actions.
Many times, we get angry (for good reason, most of us tend to believe) and to the people who infuriated us, we attack their person instead of just their actions, and sometimes we react in ways that tend to be well over the top. This is really what makes anger a problem with humanity. But Jesus showed us that if there is anger at a person’s actions, exercising prudence and discretion in reacting is very necessary. We shouldn’t let our anger control us so much that in that moment of red mist, which is for a short period of time, we do something disproportionately hurtful to our offender.
The apostle Paul lays it out nicely for us in Ephesians 4:26, Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. At the end of the day, the worst thing is to be a person fully controlled by your emotions. Such a person is flippant, not pleasant to deal with, and above all, lacking the influence of the Holy Spirit.